Sunday, January 11, 2009

What a difference 20 years makes!

I've been thinking a lot about Etsy's decision to use "20 years or more" as the mark of a Vintage piece. When I first saw it, I had to laugh. I thought, "That's just silly". But at the same time, I wholeheartedly went along with the idea, because it meant I could list more items there.

After many debates about, say, 1988 being Vintage, I think I'm finally beginning to see the light. Here's why:

Great changes have taken place in 20 year spans. Not only societal and historical changes, but major changes in home and fashion styles. I can't help but think about the giant leap society took between the 20 years from 1900 to 1920. At the turn of the century, they were just barely out of the Victorian era, still wearing blowsy shirtwaists, bustles, and full length bathing suits. But by the 1920s they have moved on to bathtub gin, short flapper dresses, and cupid's bow lips.
When I was a young housewife in the mid-50s, anything from the mid-30s was considered positively antique--so out of it and old fashioned! We were well into modernistic, streamlined, Scandinavian influences and people were throwing out that 30s junk by the carloads. (Especially the clunky Mission Oak furniture we now associate with Stickley and other sought-after Craftsman era makers. It was way too big for our little ranch homes.)

By the late 50s and early1960s, we were throwing out the old cast-offs from the 1940s--those stuffy old mohair sofas, those rose-strewn rugs, those chenille bedspreads. Who would want that tired old junk? We didn't become nostalgic for it until years later, when it suddenly became popular again. It's that cycling of the old stuff--our grandmother's stuff-- that we've come to call "nostalgia".

In the 1980s, we were throwing out the 60s and 70s stuff, including the eye-popping psychedelic remnants of a free and easy culture, and heading toward the more abstract, the more natural, earthy (or earth-bound) aspects of a hippy generation that leaned toward hand-thrown pots, macrame, and unpainted barn siding.
And now here we are, in the 21st Century, already getting nostalgic for that past century. . .

I wonder what life will look like 20 years from now?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Toward a New Year

Happy, happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas. Blogging went by the wayside in December, as I got further and further behind and worked like the devil to catch up. (I never did catch up, and the New Year started anyway.)

But I had to show you two super Christmas presents I was absolutely THRILLED to receive:

Pearl China Tea Set
The color is a teal green, and the tea pot has the Pearl curlicue on it. The scroll and flowers are a bright gold. Lovely! I have to do more research to find the pattern and year(s) produced.

Homer Laughlin "English Garden"

This is my absolute favorite American china pattern. I have three small pieces, and am always lusting for more, but this gorgeous platter was beyond my wildest dreams! Here is a closeup of the cottage (Love it, love it, LOVE it):

And. . .I know Christmas is over, but I wanted to show you some pictures of my daughter's Department 56 Snowbabies collection. Every Christmas for almost 20 years, I've bought her a new little bisque Snowbabies figurine, and it's become almost as much fun as buying something wonderful for myself!

For the past five or six years, my granddaughter, now eleven, has done the choosing, and I'm happy to let her. She takes a long time, and chooses very carefully, because her auntie has promised that the collection will be hers someday. What an incentive!

Every year my daughter and her niece, the Snowbabies heiress, come up with new ways to display them. This year they outdid themselves. They placed different sized boxes here and there in a garden window, laid tiny light strings around them, and covered the whole thing with yards of batting. They look adorable!

This is what it looks like at night.

Snowbabies started in Germany some time in the nineteenth century, and are still being made there. Department 56 began issuing their own versions around 1986, and kept to the original all-white figurines until recently, when they joined up with Disney and Warner Bros, added color, and totally ruined them, as far as I'm concerned. My daughter and granddaughter agree. They prefer the classic Snowbabies, though you'll notice there is one partially colored "Frosty the Snowman" in there. Who could say no to Frosty?

My best wishes for a Glorious year ahead for everyone.

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~Mark Twain